Finding the right perfume is one of the most exhausting things that you can possibly go through voluntarily (shoes and bags don’t come anywhere near!). A fragrance has to tick so many boxes that it’s almost impossible to get it right. And having a very vague idea of how you should (or want) to smell like on any given day doesn’t help.
“Today I’d like to smell (read: “feel”) forceful yet delicate, as I have an important client meeting, where I will be presenting a new idea, so the fragrance should also project my originality of thought and creativity…it goes on, and on, and on…” How on earth can any liquid, however precious, be able to fulfil this stream of consciousness?!
That makes me admire anyone who attempts to solve this nerve-racking puzzle with grace and passion. The newly discovered shop called Bloom is successfully delivering just that. Their original store is based in Spitafields, the weird land between trendy Brick Lane and polished City, where you are more likely to find vintage Dr. Martens than exquisite perfumes. But hey, it’s there – it’s very small, easy to miss, but absolutely divine.
I was on a mission to find an aldehyde-based (don’t ask, it’s something chemical) fragrance for my mum, who has firmly selected aldehyde perfumes years ago as her favourites. Now, that’s a tough one, actually. Most commercial fragrances use low-cost bases and a lot of strong floral add-ons – and unluckily for perfume connoisseurs, they sell well. Which means that aldehyde fragrances, like the famous “Papillon” by Parfico and “Climat” by Lancome are being discontinued in favour of cheaper scents.
The only famous aldehyde perfume I can think of is Chanel No. 5, but I bet most people buy it for what it stands for (emancipation and freedom to be unique, as was perfectly demonstrated by Coco herself), than for the scent.
Determined to succeed in finding her something new, I headed to Bloom, not really knowing what to expect. The girl who served me was extremely patient, very knowledgeable yet warm (I hate snobs, they never actually are THAT clever). She went an extra mile by googling my mum’s favourite fragrances and “mapping” key components. Based on that and her personal taste she recommended the Salvador Dali fragrance which was created by the artist himself for his beloved wife Gala.
Call me crazy, but the moment I smelled it I was astonished at how close the match was. Not like any of the previous perfumes my mum has ever had, but deeper, more accurate. “Yes, this is exactly how she would want to smell”, I thought – a perfect daytime cover that enhances your presence and leaves an unmistakable trace after you are gone. This is how the ideal perfume should feel like.
But the service doesn’t finish there – Bloom wants you to be 100% sure that it’s the right perfume, so with every purchase you receive a small tester that you can try later at home before opening the box. If for some reason it doesn’t feel right anymore, you simply return it.
I’ll be coming back soon to experience this sensual magic again and hopefully find my ideal perfume. My advice to anyone who is like me (that is – struggling with fragrances and feeling slightly incomplete every time you go out), don’t be afraid to ignore all advertising from fashion houses that promise you instant sex appeal or blissful serenity with their fragrances. Instead, invest some time in finding a small niche perfume shop where they will take their time to understand who you really are.